THE SILK ROAD LECTURE SERIES, WINTER 2010-11 PRESENTS:
Chaim Braun Consulting Professor, CISAC, Stanford University
In this presentation Braun will review the legacy of the Soviet Union's nuclear programs in Central Asia with regards to both their positive and negative aspects. The large number of USSR nuclear weapons tests conducted mostly in Kazakhstan, have left large portions of the country radioactively contaminated and the clean-up work will require years to accomplish. On the other hand a large number of nuclear research facilities and trained scientific personnel that were inherited by these countries offer the potential for economic development based on high-technology products and services. The USSR search for Uranium for both its military and civilian nuclear programs has resulted in significant discoveries of Uranium resources in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kirgizstan and Mongolia. Currently Kazakhstan is, by far, the largest producer of Uranium in the world. The control over Uranium mining capacity within their borders provides the Central Asian countries strong leverage to provide additional nuclear fuel cycle services of conversion, fabrication and potentially enrichment, thus increasing the added value of their natural resources. Kazakhstan, given its fast development pace, requires increased electricity generation and considers the possibility of constructing new nuclear power plants to meet its fast-growing electric demand. Finally, both Kazakhstan and Mongolia are now consider the establishment of centralized dry cask storage facilities for spent fuel from nuclear plants located elsewhere, and offering the use of such facilities on a commercial basis. These and other issues will be reviewed in this presentation.
Free and open to the public.